Paul Gallen and Corey Parker wouldn't take no for an answer when it came to playing the Auckland Nines, while Souths star Issac Luke was shattered to miss out.
The stars will shine brightly at the Auckland Nines but there are a host of players who may shock the sell-out crowds with their skill and tenacity.
The response to a city-wide community blitz by 15 NRL clubs shows the strength of the game among Auckland's junior rugby league clubs.
The Auckland Nines will be a showcase of the best flair, youth and speed rugby league has to offer - with a couple of legends thrown in.
We run our eyes over the group stage and finals schedule to make our fearless predictions for the Dick Smith NRL Auckland Nines.
The inaugural Dick Smith NRL Auckland Nines takes place this weekend and you can stay in touch with all the action with live blogs of every game on NRL.com.
The complete list of all 16 teams that will contest the inaugural Dick Smith NRL Auckland Nines on February 15-16.
Melbourne Storm Craig Bellamy says his players are keen to do well in this weekend's Auckland Nines tournament.
Team surprises have prompted bookies to adjust their prices for this weekend's Dick Smith NRL Auckland Nines.
Tamou, Sims and Taumalolo set to be let loose on undermanned defensive lines at Auckland Nines.